Short Term Missions Opportunities 2014

 We have several short-term missions trips opportunities this year:

ANDROS YOUTH CAMPS:

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In August 2013, we did a youth camp for about 40 kids in Mastic Point (you can see pics on the website and blog). We had basketball, soccer, outdoor games and VBS. We’re hoping to do TWO youth camps this year, one in late June in Nicholls Town, and one in either late July or early August in Mastic Point. It’s a one-week trip and includes some fun stuff, too. Last year’s cost was about $950 for the week (the airfare is the main fluctuating factor). We will take kids 14 and up, but it’s a great trip for families, too – Last year it was 3 families and me. 🙂  For the Mastic Point trip, the max we can accommodate is 10. I’m still waiting on some info for accommodation in Nicholls Town. (NOTE: You do need a passport to travel to the Bahamas.)

SLUMS AND BABIES HOME, UGANDA

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I don’t usually take groups to Uganda (we did a basketball camp in 2011 that was great, though!), but I’ve had several people express interest this year. If we get at least 6, I’ll take a group in September. It would be a minimum of 11 days (it’s 4 days of travel), and we’ll work with women and children in the slums of Kampala, and go to the Arise Africa Babies Home in Bukaleba. We can also spend time with hospice in Jinja and/or Tororo is that’s of interest. And we’ll go on a 1 night (2 game drives) safari at Lake Mburo. The cost will be around $3000 a person – I’ll get more precise if we do end up with enough people. Minimum age is 16 without a parent, 14 with.

(NOTE: You will need typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations to travel to Uganda, and will take malaria meds while there, which isn’t included in the cost quoted above. You’ll also need a visa, which is $50, and a passport if you don’t have one, also not included in the cost above.)

MONTHLY ANDROSELDERLY DAY CARE

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We are trying to start a very short term, monthly program in Andros to work with the elderly. The elderly in Andros is a hugely underserved population and in desperate need. We were hoping to start in january, but the accommodation fell through (twice) and we’re still working on a plan B. Participants would fly to Andros, spend 3 days working with 3 groups of 15 elderly per day, then leave the following day. The cost (depending on airfare) would be around $750-800. We only need 2-4 people per month.

If you’re interested in a trip, use the comments or the Contact section at our website  – and feel free to pass this on to anyone you know who might be.

If you’re interesting in hosting a fundraiser, let me know! We are in fairly desperate need for 2014, after our largest donor was unable to contribute for 2014 due to the economy.

the whole camp balls up

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Andros Youth Camp – Last day!

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The kids started arriving early – we were all pretty excited! The chairs had been moved out, so Jason and some of the other staff played some games until the ball got a bit crazy. After that, the Sharpies came out and the tee shirt signing began!

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After singing and worship, all the team gave their testimonies, sharing a time in their life when they didn’t think they were enough, but God brought them through and His will was accomplished. It was really great! Several of the team really didn’t want to get up in front of everyone and share, but they did, and God came through again!

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One of my favorite parts of the day was next, when we had the children come outside for affirmations. We’d worked all week writing them, and each child and team member got to choose 3. Our prayer is that the verses and other words of encouragement and affirmation will continue to speak into the kids’ lives long after camp is over.

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But we weren’t done yet! We got out the face painting supplies, and a surprising number wanted their faces done. With three of us being artists, we moved through them pretty fast, while the other kids learned to make paper airplanes from the pilot’s son, Nathan.

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Next… water balloons! The guys found another pump near the church that we hadn’t known about, and filled about 150 water balloons. It was supposed to be an organized thing (they even formed lines!). But as soon as the first balloons started to break, it became a free-for-all. With much hilarity and fun!

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Finally, it was time to hand out the tee shirts! Everyone got a Ten Eighteen shirt, and we got them organized for a group photo. I say “we,” meaning Mark, who, being an engineer, FINALLY got the kids into a line.

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And then… the Andros version of the color run! The kids LOVED the holi powder, and it was a great finale to our camp. Daryl and Tyler led a huddle at the end, and then it was the time we’d all been dreading… The time to say goodbye. It was hard… But I know we’ll be back, maybe even for 2 camps, next year. I’m thinking, maybe, one in Mastic Point and one in Nicholls Town. We’ll see what God says as we get closer, and if we can get enough volunteers. For now it’s on the back burner, and makes saying goodbye a little easier…

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Andros – the Research Day

You have probably guessed by now that we didn’t have internet in Andros. Well, technically we did… It didn’t work at all for 4 days, then worked sporadically and slowly after that. I was never able to open my WordPress blogs, though, even when it was working. So now, instead of one hugely long post, I’m going to split it into parts. We’ll have my research day, when I spoke to the doctor at the Nicholls Town clinic and the director of social services. Then I’ll do the team’s arrival, church, and our “tourist” day. I may break the camp up into more than one post – I’ll see how that goes as I write and add pictures. And finally, the last afternoon of decompressing, traveling home, and thoughts. I hope you’ll join me for all the posts (I’ll schedule one a day, so it’s not too overwhelming!). It was a GREAT trip!

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AUGUST 8:

I spent the morning in Nassau, waiting to see if the attorney was going to be able to fit me in her schedule. She wasn’t able to, but I did have a good conversation with her assistant, and have a much clearer picture of what we need to get Ten Eighteen registered in the Bahamas. I need to get on that stuff (financial letter of reference, personal letter of reference and criminal background checks for each of the board, plus a summary of Ten Eighteen’s activities to date, and a proposal of what we’ll do in the Bahamas) before I leave for Uganda on September 12 (which is really close!).

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I had conch fritters at the hotel, looking out at the beach, then headed to the charter part of the airport. I got there at about 1:15, and finally got on a charter at 4:00! I was the first of the afternoon to want to go to Andros, and I had to wait until 4 other people came with the same destination. Once we were going, of course, it was only a fifteen minute flight. We flew around a rain storm, which was just amazing to see, but I was on the wrong side of the plane to take pictures.

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Pastor Barr picked me up and stopped by his house, where Mother Barr gave me a delicious dinner of pork chop and rice. We went to the market and then Mrs. Beneby’s from there, and she was so happy to see me. (That’s always nice!) I had a quiet evening – I enjoyed my couple of quiet, alone days, knowing the team would be coming and the camp starting and there would be no such thing as quiet!

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AUGUST 9:

Friday was lovely in the am, but rained most of the day. I spoke at length with Dr. Sharma, of the Nicholls Town Clinic, about hospice and the elderly. He sent me to see Gabrielle Romer, the director of Social Services for North Andros. All of us agreed that the elderly are in desperate need of help and socialization, and Gabrielle and I came up with a basic plan for an elderly day care, which I’m hoping to implement at the beginning of 2014 (with help from US volunteers, so more about that at a later date – but if you’re interested in volunteering for a 5 day trip to work with the elderly, let me know!). She’s out of the office through September, and I don’t get back from Uganda til early October, so that worked out great. The rest of the day was spent reading, listening to the rain, and enjoying the last day before all the action started.

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Breakfast!

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As you drive around, and certainly once you begin talking to people, you realize the huge need in Andros. I have a lot of things on the back burner, but, as always, am trying to do “the next thing,” meaning the thing that God wants done next. For Ten Eighteen, that’s going to be trying to implement the elderly program. The hospice is still out there, but because of the centralized medical system (which is pretty dysfunctional), it’s going to take a long process of dealing with officials and ministries to get that going. I’m really excited about this next phase, and have already had some people express interest. The good news is that this program, as I’ve envisioned it, won’t cost very much to Ten Eighteen, and the cost to the volunteers will be fairly minimal as well (air fare, food, and lodging, and we’re working on a cheaper lodging solution). I’d love your prayers as I work on logistics!

See tomorrow’s post for the events of the weekend, including the saga of the missed flight, and swimming in Uncle Charlie’s blue hole, plus searching for pirate treasure.

Greetings from the Bahamas!

I’m here! Well, I’m here as in “in country.” I’m in Nassau until after lunch today, hopefully to meet with the attorney or her assistants this morning and get the final info on what we need to do to get our nonprofit registered here. I find that, in places like Uganda and the Bahamas, face-to-face is the only way (literally!) to get anything done! So I’m calling them again promptly at 9am, and hoping to catch a cab for Chancellors Chambers soon afterwards. Meanwhile, the sunrise here this morning was stunning:

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I have had some really amazing divine appointments on the trip so far. First, the man that sat next to me from Atlanta to Nassau lives in Freeport, and gave me not only a great place to go on Wednesdays in Freeport for a fish fry (very good information indeed since we’ll be there in November!), but also the name of a wealthy man here in Nassau who is very generous, especially to local health-related causes. If I can get a meeting with him, he may be the solution to the hospice funding. That’s huge!

Then, I met the guys from the Hampton University basketball team, who are here for a tournament. They are just super guys to a man, and they all signed a tee shirt for me to give away at the camp. I think it will mean a lot to the kids that a college basketball team took the time to encourage them. (A couple of the guys – who shall remain nameless – said they’d rather do the camp than the tournament!)  I’ll be cheering for Hampton from now on – I may even have to get a tee shirt for game days!

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Then, when I was down here in the lobby using the internet (theoretically I have it in the room, but in actuality, not so much), I met two men who are here for a Christian converence. One lives in Wrightsville Beach and seemed very interested in Ten Eighteen. He asked me to slide a card under his door (he was headed back to the conference’s evening session and I didn’t have my purse). The other man is involved with the ministry putting on the conference. He wrote down the website address and also seemed interested. So you never know how those connections will bear fruit, but it was great to chat with them, and they are praying for the camp.

And THEN… Yep, there’s more! … While I was at the restaurant where the team was signing the shirt, a guy came over to the team who, it turns out, coached the high school coach of three of the guys. Byron Dinkins, who the man had coached in Germany, went on to play in the NBA with the Rockets. Anyway, this man is very involved with some non-profits in the sports world, including one that’s in 60 countries (and 20 of them in places like Iraq!). He was also very interested in Ten Eighteen and took my card. He thinks he can hook me up with some of his contacts.

That was all between 2:30 and 8:00 yesterday…. Whew!  The moral of the story? Go where God sends you. Listen. when he prompts you to speak to someone, do it (I initiated the conversations with the basketball team and with the guys here for the conference). You may feel stupid (or crazy). But you just don’t know what will come of it! The Holy Spirit doesn’t waste anything. These contacts may or may not come out like we’re all thinking they will in the natural. But those contacts were all for reason, and I’m just excited to see how it all turns out.

So I’m off to Andros after lunch. I may or may not have internet (I’d say it’s 50/50 at best.) If you don’t hear from me for awhile, that’s why. I hope you will, though – I hope we have internet and I can post updates and pictures from the camp all throughout the week.

We covet your prayers. God has sent me here – sent this team to this place for this time. Please pray that we will make the most of every single opportunity He sends our way, not matter how strange it may seem at the time. My prayer for this team, especially, is that they will begin to see that following the Holy Spirit is “a wild goose chase” (to quote Mark Batterson and his wonderful book by the same name), and that they will begin to be open to true Kingdom life.

Bye for now!

god is so amazing

2013 is shaping up to be big!

Project Friendship!

Project Friendship!

Time is really flying! How is it May already?? And I haven’t posted here in two weeks… Sorry about that! (You can go to the Facebook page and Like it so that you get more frequent updates.) So here’s what’s going on:

  • I found out today that I actually DO have an attorney working on the nonprofit in the Bahamas, I just didn’t know it! Yes, “island time” has a lot in common with “beach time.” It turns out, they’ve been calling the relavent government ministries to gather information. So that’s pretty exciting! I will almost certainly be going down to Nassau and Andros before my daughter’s wedding on June 22. I’m just waiting to get a bit further in the process. But I have sent a letter of authorization for the chambers (law firm) to act on my behalf, so I feel like we are finally up and running there. This will help a lot with the hospice.
  • We have gotten our tickets for Uganda. Zeke will be there August 21-October 2. I will be heading over September 12 and returning with him. Because he will be working on Ten Eighteen’s behalf in Namuwongo, particularly with the Haven boys, I can make another short trip, but not work quite so hard, and still get everything done.
  • The Andros trip in August is well into planning. We have a tee shirt design (I will unveil that soon!) which is AWESOME, and a schedule. Once Ryan graduates from college this weekend, she will be putting together the VBS curriculum, and making the schedule for the camp days. And it looks like we’ll have at least 5 local volunteers from National Church of God to help us out.
  • New Life Camp is partnering with us to make the Project Friendship bracelets for both the youth camp in Andros and the party in Uganda. We will need 500-600, so this is GREAT news, and will help us forge a valuable relationship that hopefully will be ongoing.

Keep checking back (or Like the FB page!) for more updates!

Hospice in the Bahamas

Andros' coral reef

Andros’ coral reef

To those of us in the States and Europe, hospice and palliative care are things we take for granted. If someone has a terminal friend or relative, it is a natural question to ask, “Have they signed up for hospice?” We have come to understand the value of hospice care, of dying at home, of help for caretakers, and the like. In other words, we completely take it for granted.

In Uganda, there are six hospices in the entire country. I work with two of them. Hospice Jinja, with a dozen staff and two vehicles, is supposed to service a population of 8.5 million. Hospice Tororo, newly begun in the Tororo Hospital, is near the Kenyan border. Their supposed reach is probably in the neighborhood of 4-5 million, if I had to guess. Their first vehicle has just arrived (it hasn’t gotten it’s paperwork yet, though), so they’ve been visiting patients by boda or at the hospital.

In one of my first conversations about Andros, before I had visited this Easter (I’d been once, for something totally different, for 1 day 4 years ago), I found out that there is nothing for the elderly on Andros. So naturally, after working with hospice in Uganda for over three years, that was the first thing I thought of. Once we returned, I started doing some research. I thought that, surely, there would be a hospice in Nassau I could talk to. And maybe in Freeport, too. But the internet didn’t find anything except a newspaper article about an in-patient hospice opening in Freeport late last year. However, the Cancer Society of the Bahamas was involved with that, so I decided to call them.

The secretary/treasurer of the Cancer Society called me back, and we had a nice long chat. What I learned right off the bat is that there IS no hospice in the Bahamas. At all. The four room facility in Freeport is technically hospice, but it’s expensive to run and all there is. There is no outreach, no visiting, no training, no care. My contact said that the culture is somewhat resistant, but then, so has been Ugandan culture until they learn what hospice does and how it benefits them.

I have been in touch with Dr. Frank and Dr. Patricia, the retired Irish couple who go to Uganda twice a year for a month at a time to volunteer. They’ve given me a long list of things we’ll need to do to get hospice off the ground in the Bahamas. We will have some challenges… well, a lot of challenges, but some that they don’t have. For one thing, in Uganda, nurses are allowed to prescribe morphine and other drugs, so that a doctor doesn’t always have to accompany the team in the field. This is good because there is no staff doctor, only volunteers that come. They carry a portable pharmacy (otherwise known as a suitcase) and are able to dispense meds right away when they see a patient. This is an obstacle for us, as I’m sure nurses aren’t allowed to do that. We’ll need a doctor, physicians assistant, or nurse practicioner, which is expensive and complicated. (I’m hoping we can get volunteers from Florida on a regular basis, since it’s so cheap and fast to get to Andros from there…)

We’ll have to work with the government, which is always delightful (*cough*), and will no doubt be doubly so on an island where the government seems to be too involved in life.

We’ll need community volunteers and community training about what hospice/palliative care is, how it helps, and why they need it.

Finally, I believe we’ll need a vision that isn’t limited to Andros. There are only 8,000 people on Andros. But there’s also no hospice in Nassau/New Providence, where there are over 250,000 people. None in Freeport with 50,000 people. None in the Abacos or other family islands that make up the rest of the Bahamas. Eleuthra. Exuma. Inagua. 700 islands. No hospice.

It’s a big task. It’s too big to think of as a whole, really. But I firmly believe that it is something that God has called me to, and so He will give us the ability and the funds and the favor to accomplish it. Who am I? Nobody. But the God I serve is big enough!